A Montgomery, Ala., judge slashed a jury verdict Exxon Mobil Corp. to $3.5 billion from $11.8 billion to bring it closed in line with U.S. Supreme Court guidelines.

Despite the change, Circuit Judge Tracy McCooey said Exxon Mobil cheated the state out of royalties when it drilled natural-gas wells in state-owned waters along the Alabama coast. “This court is thoroughly convinced, as was the jury, that Exxon intentionally and deliberately took actions, from the moment the leases were signed, to commit fraud upon the state,” the judge wrote.

Exxon Mobil spokesman Russ Roberts said the Irving, Texas, company will appeal.” The remaining award is still unjustified,” he said.

Judge McCooey said Exxon Mobil “engaged in a “carefully planned scheme, conceived and approved at the highest echelons of its corporate offices.”

Through disappointed at the reduction of the award, Jere Beasley, an attorney for the state, said the judge’s decision increases the likelihood of the plaintiffs recovering “close to 100%” of the judgment. Mr. Beasley called the judge’s order “scathing.”

In November, a Montgomery County jury ruled Exxon Mobil had cheated the state of natural-gas royalties. The jury concluded Exxon was liable to Alabama for $102.8 million in natural-gas royalties and then slapped $11.8 billion in punitive damages on top of the actual damages. The state had asked for $9.3 billion,

Through the verdict underscored the public’s distaste for what it perceived as bad corporate behavior, legal experts didn’t expect that $11.8 billion award to survive. Last year, the Supreme Court rules that punitive awards should be limited to no more than nine times as muchas the actual damages established.

The case is now likely to head to the Alabama Supreme Court, which overturned a 2000 Montgomery jury’s $3.5 billion verdict award against Exxon Mobil in the same dispute because jurors shouldn’t have seen an internal company legal memo.



We're here to help!

We live by our creed of "helping those who need it most" and have helped thousands of clients get the justice they desperately needed and deserved. If you feel you have a case or just have questions please contact us for a free consultation. There is no risk and no fees unless we win for you.

Fields marked    may be required for submission.
  1. I'm an attorney

Judge Sides with Exxon in Payment Dispute with State

The billions that state officials had once coveted from the largest jury verdict in Alabama history is...

Another Voice on the Exxon Case

A recent editorial appeared in the Montgomery Independent dealing with the court's ruling in favor of...

Jim Martin Speaks Out on Exxon

Jim Martin, who served as Commissioner of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources...

High Court Nullifies Exxon Jury Verdict

The Alabama Supreme Court, by tossing nearly 99 percent of a $3.6 billion verdict against ExxonMobil,...

Exxon Juror Laments Decision

The Alabama Supreme Court has slapped the citizens of Alabama in the face with their corporate-loyal...

State Supreme Court Ruling May Put Freeze on...

The state Legislature may not have as much money to open up programs they wanted after the Alabama Court...

Best for clients

Great firm. Supports the community. They want what is best for their clients.

—Jennifer